I’m currently making a sweater for my husband Jon as part of the Fringe and Friends KAL and it’s gotten me thinking. Usually when I’m making something it’s either for myself or for my sister, which is really about the same as making something for myself since I know exactly what she likes and exactly how to fit her.
This sweater for Jon though, it’s tough. I thought knitting him a top down sweater would be much quicker and easier than its turning out to be, and not for the reasons I expected. Of course he’s a guy and I don’t make things for men often (or ever knitting-wise outside of hats) and while I haven’t done a ton of sweater designing I have taken a few knitwear design classes and designed my own sweaters before. I thought that those two things would be my obstacles on this journey.
I started this sweater over a few times at the very beginning because I’m unable to count and watch the Olympics at the same time, but that’s no big deal, that’s just me not paying attention and yelling at the TV. I have started the sweater entirely over once and then the other night I ripped back from around the waist to the armhole divide. Both times Jon thought the sweater was totally fine and was thrilled at how it was progressing but I felt like it wasn’t right. It wasn’t until I was discussing it with a friend that I realized that if it were a sweater for me I likely wouldn’t be so picky with the fit and I think it’s a combination of a few things.
First obviously I have perfectionist tendencies, I think we’re all aware of that fact. I typically don’t have them at the expense of finishing a project though, as I do in this case. I obviously want Jon to have a sweater that fits well, of course he deserves that, but I realized that, while he would love literally any sweater I made and put on his back, I find it impossible to apply the same standards I apply to making for myself, which are do the best you can, a finished garment is better than no garment. He might love it but if I know that something is amiss I don’t want to look at that sweater forever – because that’s likely how long he’ll keep it – and know I should have taken an extra week for him to rip it out and correct what’s wrong.
Maybe it’s because he loves things I make more than I do that I’m having this perfection anxiety, I’m not sure, but I thought it was a curious thing and wondered if others have this as well. So, now I want to ask you, do you make for others? If so, do you hold these things to the same standard as when you make things for yourself? Or is the standard different for different people like it apparently is for me? Very curious!!